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About sparctek

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    Leather working, Fly fishing, Nature photography

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  • Leatherwork Specialty
    Just starting out -- Hobby
  • Interested in learning about
    all aspects of leather work,
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    internet search

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  1. I could not find any of my early attempts at leather tooling/carving, but here is one of my projects from about 6 months ago. It is not perfect, but it's one of my better attempts. It's one of Don's patterns for a portfolio I made for myself. That lasted 1 day, my wife saw it and immediately claimed it. I guess I will have to make another one for myself...
  2. @Frodo I was in the same spot you are in a couple of years ago. I started watching Don Gonzales videos and 2-3 years later, I can confidently say my work has improved. I am by no means an expert and I am nowhere near the skill level that some of the people on this forum are at. But I can confidently say that once you learn what each tool does and learn at least one way to use them, you will improve them if you put the time in to practice. It took me that long because I still work fill time for an IT company. So, my time working with leather is limited. Give this video of Don showing his process and the tools he uses and why a try or 2... it should help get you going in the right direction. I know it did for me. Hope this helps, and yes it is a 4 video series. If you don't have the same tools a she does (undershot, undercut) you can just use a beveler, angle it and use that to bevel those areas instead.
  3. You are making progress for sure. Question for you: are you beveling your cut lines before you use the background tool? Or maybe beveling too lightly?
  4. Rockler has one that is similar. Likely same one with different color handles/details. I bought a pair to use when cutting thinner leather, my wife promptly borrowed them. I had to go buy another pair. LOL https://www.rockler.com/10-extra-heavy-duty-scissors
  5. I am not an expert by any means, but can offer something that helped me improve my swivel knife work. When I first started, my hand would cramp up after just a few minutes of cutting. I finally figured out my knife was set too short and to compensate I had a very tight grip on the barrel with all my fingers. That made it hard to turn smoothly and it made my hand cramp up. I experimented with various lengths (adjustable knife) but it wasn't until I saw a video from Gordon Andrus that I was finally able to set a good length that felt comfortable and allowed me to turn and run the swivel knife with much less effort and no more cramping. Here is a link to the video: The other things already mentioned are definitely important. I just thought this may help you as it did me.
  6. sparctek


    Very nice work. I like the texture on the main body piece. And the buckle is a very classy touch. Great work!
  7. if you have or are purchasing a bench grinder, you may want to look at this site https://www.mcmaster.com/drum-sanders/drum-diameter~3/ . I purchased a 3" drum for my grinder and it works very well. Since you are not in the US it may be cost prohibitive, but thought I would share the link...
  8. I have not worked with Buttero, so no first hand experience. However, it is a finished leather so I would think that may prevent water from absorbing into it.
  9. @Danne Your work is fantastic. I have not ventured into the fine leather goods world. But when I see pictures like yours, I keep thinking "I want to do that".
  10. Tank you for the kind words. I've practice tooling and stitching on scrap pieces of leather for a long time. I work in IT and usually only have an hour here or there to do leather work. My wife finally convinced to get off my safe zone and make her the purse. I'm not 100% happy with everything, but it looks pretty good. And most importantly, my wife really likes it. So it's a win for me.
  11. Thank you. It's been a labor of love for sure. A lot of firsts for me on this one. Leather work is just a hobby at this point, but I'm hoping it can become a hobby that pays for itself once retirement comes around. :-)
  12. I'm working on a purse for my wife. It's a Don Gonzales pattern that wife really liked. It is my first non-practice piece I've worked on. So, not perfect my any means but my wife likes what I've done so far...
  13. That shading looks good. I think you are getting the hang of it! Keep up the good work.
  14. sparctek


    I'll add my perspective from someone that is newish to leather work. I do leather work as a Hobby and I was in the same position as the OP when I wanted to upgrade my Tandy yellow poly mallet. After quite a bit of research I settled on a tapered maul weighing ~14 oz. The reason I went with a tapered maul is because I tend to rest my elbow on the table/desk when tooling. The angle on the maul head allows for a solid hit while I do that. It may seem like a small thing but, for me, it helped quite a bit. Before getting the tapered maul some of my strikes would slide off, especially when tilting a tool such as when tapering off a beveling run. For me 14 oz is just right for tooling. It lets me tool for a couple of hours at a time effectively, but without too much stress/fatigue on my arm. If you have the ability to try try different types/weights that would be ideal. If you don't have that ability, a 16 oz maul would be a good place to start. Hope this helps.
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